Mobile Computers, Mobile Computing

Mobile computers are handheld or wearable devices that allow users to access computing resources while away from a fixed location. They typically have a smaller form factor than traditional desktop or laptop computers, and they often have features that make them ideal for use in mobile environments, with ruggedized designs and long battery life. Mobile computing involves interaction between the user and a small, portable computer device that can be used on site or in the field. Modern mobile computers also often feature a raft of features; including camera, barcode scanner, phone and Internet access. This coming together of what have historically been features available on separate devices, is often referred to as Convergence.

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Mobile Computers

Mobile computers are used in a variety of industries, including retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics. They are used for tasks such as inventory management, barcode scanning, data entry, and customer service.

Some of the most common types of mobile computers include:

  • Handheld computers are small, portable devices that are typically held in one hand. They have a touchscreen display, a keyboard, and a barcode scanner. Handheld computers are often used in retail and logistics applications.
  • Tablet computers are larger than handheld computers, but they are still portable enough to be used in mobile environments. They have a touchscreen display, a keyboard, and a variety of other features, such as cameras, GPS, and cellular connectivity. Tablet computers are often used in healthcare, education, and government applications.
  • Wearable computers are devices that are worn on the body. They can be in the form of watches, glasses, or headsets. Wearable computers often have features that allow users to interact with their surroundings, such as gesture recognition and voice control. Wearable computers are still in their early stages of development, but they have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with computers.

Mobile computers offer a number of advantages over traditional desktop or laptop computers, including:

  • Portability: Mobile computers are small and lightweight, making them easy to carry around.
  • Wireless connectivity: Mobile computers typically have wireless connectivity, which allows users to access data and applications from anywhere.
  • Durability: Mobile computers are often ruggedized, making them resistant to damage from bumps, drops, and dust.

However, mobile computers also have some disadvantages, including:

  • Smaller screens: The screens on mobile computers are typically smaller than the screens on desktop or laptop computers, which can make it difficult to view data and applications.
  • Limited battery life: Mobile computers typically have shorter battery life than desktop or laptop computers.
  • Security risks: Mobile computers are more susceptible to security risks than desktop or laptop computers, as they are often connected to public Wi-Fi networks.

Mobile computing

Today with the proliferation of a new generation of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and PDAs, the emphasis is increasingly shifting to mobile and multi-device user experience, mobile social computing, next generation mobile solutions, mobile cloud services and infrastructure. Mobile computing is typically characterised by its portability, meaning that users can take their devices with them and use them in different locations.

Mobile computing has three aspects: mobile communication, mobile hardware, and mobile software. The first aspect addresses communication issues in ad-hoc and infrastructure networks as well as communication properties, protocols, data formats and concrete technologies. The second aspect is on the hardware, e.g., mobile devices or device components. The third aspect deals with the characteristics and requirements of mobile applications.

Key features of mobile computing:

  • Portability: Mobile devices are small and lightweight, making them easy to carry around. This allows users to access computing resources from anywhere.
  • Connectivity: Mobile devices typically have wireless networking capabilities, which allows them to connect to the internet or other networks. This provides users with access to a wide range of resources, such as web pages, email, and applications.
  • Ubiquity: Mobile devices are now ubiquitous, meaning that they are widely available and used by people of all ages. This has led to the development of a wide range of mobile applications that cater to different needs and interests.

Applications of mobile computing:

  • Web or Internet access: Mobile devices can be used to access the internet, which allows users to browse web pages, check email, and use online applications.
  • Global Position System (GPS): Mobile devices can use GPS to determine their location, which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as navigation, tracking, and emergency services.
  • Emergency services: Mobile devices can be used to call for emergency services, such as the police or fire department.
  • Entertainment services: Mobile devices can be used to play games, watch videos, and listen to music.
  • Educational services: Mobile devices can be used to access educational resources, such as textbooks, online courses, and apps.

Rugged Mobile devices and PDAs are used in field service and workforce management applications. They are particularly useful for field service engineers recording work in the field, communicating information back to an office environment -sending and receiving invoices, ordering parts. They are commonly used in parcel delivery with couriers using these devices to scan barcodes and record signatures as proof of delivery.

Innovations in wireless technology, energy-efficient portable hardware and adaptive software, has enabled a massive growth in the use of these devises for businesses across the enterprise or for personal and social use. These devices are now so versatile that employees are using smartphones for business applications (BYOD –Bring Your Own Device)

This phrase has become widely adopted to refer to employees who bring their own computing devices – such as smartphones, laptops and PDAs – to the workplace for use and connectivity on the corporate network.

BYOD Security - Employees using personal smartphones and mobile devices at work, pose a security risk. Many corporations that allow employees to use their own mobile devices at work implement a BYOD security policy that clearly outlines the company's position and governance policy to ensure network security is not compromised by employees using their own devices at work.

Email and Web access is a reality that is experienced by millions of users worldwide through their smartphones and tablets. Hot spot access points for Wi-Fi connection are becoming more prevalent and widespread, even in London`s underground network.

Cloud computing is evolving as a new paradigm of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. The confluence of hardware virtualization, cloud and mobile computing drives the new era of mobile cloud computing. Platforms such as android, iOS, Windows 7 erodes the power of computing platforms like Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS and is creating cross platform app centric environment in which end-users and in particular the consumer marketplace will drive developments in business computing. There are endless possibilities that can be brought about with the mobile cloud in the near future.

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